Led by Singhsumalee, Illini finish third in Minnesota

By Ryan Wilson

Bing Singhsumalee began her Illinois career with a near record-breaking performance.

Singhsumalee shot a 6-under 66 in her first round as a college golfer. That tied Seul Ki Park and Becky Beach for the lowest single round in Illinois women’s golf history.

“That was cool, especially for my first tournament,” freshman Singhsumalee said.

Singhsumalee finished the Minnesota Invitational tied with Georgia Regents University’s Josefine Nyqvist for eighth place.

“Once she got three, four, five under, she (Singhsumalee) wasn’t scared,” head coach Renee Slone said. “She wasn’t uncomfortable forging ahead and doing the same things that she had been doing earlier in the round.”

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Junior Stephanie Miller said she was not surprised Singhsumalee tied a record.

“Whenever things were held, I would sit back and watch and cheer her on,” said Miller, who finished the invitational at an 8-over 224 to finish tied for 13th. “I know my dad was running back and forth between us.”

Miller and Singhsumalee played in junior golf tournaments together.

“She (Singhsumalee) is like another daughter to (Miller’s dad), and so he felt he had to run back and forth between his two kids,” Miller said.

Singhsumalee had a combined 12 bogies in her final two rounds at Minnesota, seven of which came in the last round. She hit 8-over 80 in the last day.

“Nothing was clicking, really,” she said.

Illinois shot an 887 at 23-over as a team. It was one stroke behind East Carolina and two behind Purdue — the 12th-place team in the NCAA Tournament last year.

Illinois hit a 1-over 289 and a 15-over 303 in rounds one and two, respectively.

Slone said she thought team started the tournament well. But it could not maintain the level of play for all three rounds.

“We out there for quite a while, and so it’s a matter of making sure we take mental breaks between shots,” she said. “You can’t try to concentrate for nine-to-10-straight hours. Or otherwise you’ll be exhausted.”

Slone said the Illini became mentally tired toward the end of the first day.

“I think there were times where we got a little frustrated, and that was a little bit of a drain on the energy reserve,” she said. “Maintain patience, stay positive and taking those mental breaks, I think will be the key.”

Illinois sophomore Dana Gattone hit 225 to finish at 9-over-par and tie for 15th. Jan Prapassarangkul and Grace Park finished one and two strokes behind Gattone, respectively.

Palin Ruttanasupagid tied for 63rd with a 32-over 248.

“This team has shown that we do have the potential to contend,” Miller said. “It’s just our first tournament. It was a very good first showing, and I know that there was a lot more to come out of us.”

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